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Econlockhatchee River...

Kayaking in Central Florida

The Econlockhatchee River is a tributary of the St. Johns River and one of the last unspoiled rivers in Central Florida, putting it at the center of many disputes between developers and environmentalists. The river is home to diverse habitat and wildlife including eagles, sandhill cranes, wading birds, deer, turkey, and alligators. The name means “river of mounds” referring to the numerous Indian mounds along its banks. (Detailed map and photos below)

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Econlockhatchee River


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Distance: 36 miles, 19 mile state designated paddling trail from the CR 419 bridge to Lake Harney (SR 46 bridge)
Location: Orange and Seminole Counties
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Tidal: No
Launch points: SR 50 (Bithlo); CR 419 bridge, Snow Hill Road (Chuluota/Geneva), SR 46 bridge (C.S. Lee Park) (See map)
Nearby points of interest: University of Central Florida, Little Big Econ State Forest, Geneva History Museum, St. Johns River

Rentals/Outfitters/Tours:

Econ Outfitters (rentals, shuttle)

A Day Away Kayak Tours (rentals; tours)

Adventures in Florida  (rentals, tours)

BK Adventures (tours)

Econlockhatchee River... Comments and Photos

Ideal paddling for either kayak or canoe. Water levels can vary depending on rainfall. The section from SR 50 to CR 419 (15 miles) is more narrow and subject to downfall and many portages. The section from CR 419 to SR 46 (19 mile State Designated Trail) through the Little Big Econ State Forest is wider, with mostly clear sand bottom. Many sand bars offer opportunities to stretch and picnic. This lower section is rarely blocked by downfall and preferred by outfitters and most paddlers. Camping is available in the forest at designated campsites; the Florida National Scenic Trail crosses the river on a bridge in the forest.


Launching at C.S. Lee Park (SR 46)

On the St. Johns - Upstream from SR 46 Bridge to Econ River

We launched from the C.S. Lee Park (parking, no fee) boat ramp at the SR 46 Bridge, shared with motorboats and airboats. We then paddled upstream (which is south) on the St. Johns River about a mile to the juncture of the Econlockhatchee River. Open, no shade. Watch for motor and airboats.

Note: A welcome amenity next to C.S. Lee Park is Jolly Gator Fish Camp for food (do have the swamp cabbage) and refreshments with pleasant river views - and restrooms.


Econ River - Upstream from St. Johns River

We paddled about 3 miles upstream and back. Here the river is wide and flows through prairie with no shade for about 1.5 miles when more trees line the shore. The river remains wide, however, and very little shade in this section.


Launching at Snow Hill Road

Upstream from Snow Hill Road Bridge Launch

We kayaked about four miles upstream from the Snow Hill Road Bridge, passing the Florida Trail foot bridge over the river, before turning around and floating back. This section of the river is entirely within the Little Big Econ State Forest, so we enjoyed some shade later in the day.


Snow Hill Road Bridge Launch

The bridge is on Snow Hill Road between Chuluota and Geneva, about 4 miles from either SR46 to the north or CR 419 to the south. Ramps on either side of the bridge lead to the river. Parking, no other facilities, no fee. At dusk by the Snow Hill Road bridge, a phenomenon is sometimes seen, called the Oviedo Lights - mysterious bluish-green lights that rise out of the swamp and float across the water. Some will say it's just swamp gas, but legend tells that it's the spirit of Christopher Klik, who hung himself from the bridge over a lost love!

Note: If you're in the area, drive north to Geneva (est. 1836) and check out the Museum of Geneva History - a hidden gem.

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